Ten-year-old Mieko dreams of becoming a great artist, but when the atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, Mieko's hand is severely injured. By the author of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.
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Grade 3-5-- The four treasures of traditional East Asian calligraphy are brush, inkstick, inkstone, and paper. The "fifth treasure," as Mieko's art teacher has told her, is beauty in the heart, which breathes life into writing word-pictures (characters). Mieko lived in a village outside Nagasaki when the atom bomb was dropped. Flying glass badly damaged her writing hand and now, a few months later, she has been sent to live with her grandparents. Ashamed of her scars and certain she has lost the fifth treasure, Mieko withdraws into herself, rejecting school and her grandparents' efforts to help her heal psychologically. It is the subtle, beneficial influence of her new friend, Yoshi, and her overbearing aunt that helps Mieko overcome her fears and start to face life again. The child's inner and outer conflicts are believably handled, and readers will identify with her struggle towards normalcy after trauma. Much of the plot is obvious, but satisfying. The meeting with Yoshi's aunt is especially heavy-handed. With the plot unfolding in the months immediately after surrender, with Tokyo in ashes, rationing for nearly a decade, the collapse of the economy, and U. S. occupation forces just settling in, the fact that she blithely orders (and receives) luxury writing paper is a strain on credibility. Otherwise, this is a warm, sensitive, and well-written story with wide appeal. --John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Japanese calligrapher's ``four treasures'' are brush, paper, inkstick, and inkstone; the ``fifth'' is a beauty of heart informing the brushstrokes and bringing word-pictures to life. It is this that Mieko, at ten a talented student of the art, fears she has lost after her hand is injured in the atomic blast that destroyed Nagasaki. Bitterly ashamed of her disfigured hand (and soul), overwhelmed by homesickness (she's been sent to her grandparents in the country), Mieko is most despondent because she can no longer paint. In time, the encouragement of her elders--and especially of a gentle new friend--help draw her out of her pain and isolation and she begins to paint again. As in Coerr's well- loved biographical Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (1977), the horrors of the bombing are not dwelt on here; again, the subtler underlying menace is a child's vulnerability to war. In contrast to Sadako's valiant, doomed struggle, Mieko's fictional experience is one of healing and renewed hope, expressed in the same quiet, economical prose. Since the stakes are not as high--Mieko is never in mortal danger--the story is less stirring. Still, this has its own message about the paradoxical fragility and resilience of the human spirit. Calligraphy by Cecil Yuehara not seen. (Fiction. 8- 11) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Descripción Putnam Juvenile, 1993. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0399224343